Thiruvananthapuram: Agriculture Minister V S Sunil Kumar has gifted rice cultivated from Aranmula paddy field to poet Sugathakumari, who led the mass agitation against an airport project in the location.

The Minister also presented ‘payasam’ made of Aranmula rice to the poet.

The government started first phase of paddy cultivation in the 101 hectares out of the 443 hectares’ farm, adjacent to the land which had been earmarked for the Aranmula Airport project. Following widespread protest, the government had ruled out an airport in the site.

Sugathakumari said she considers this as the greatest gift she had ever received. The poet lauded the government’s efforts to retrieve the green cover.

Aranmula rice will be used to prepare ‘sadya’ for Aranmula boat race and Ashtami Rohini.